Gentle readers, Mrs. Manor and I are once again Wyomingites. It’s a term I’ve always subconsciously associated with “Sodomite,” which is not saying anything about shepherds during long, lonely nights on the prairie, no sir. They’re a bit touchy about that sort of thing, but back to our moving adventure.
We closed on our old manor on May 22nd, spent the weekend finishing our packing and cleaning chores, and on Memorial Day, loaded a 26 foot U-Haul truck, which looked much, much larger than it turned out to be. It could not be that we had too much stuff. OK, maybe it could, even though neither of us are packrats, and we gave and threw away a considerable amount of all manner of things.
There are two sure ways to find out who one’s true friends are: when a rattle snake bites you on the ass, and you need someone to suck out the poison, and when you need help loading a truck for moving. I’ve never tested the first circumstance, but we had all the help we could possibly want, for which we were grateful. We were particularly grateful because it rained the entire time we were packing, which was not, as one might imagine, a great deal of fun. Our friends stayed with us, even when it became clear a 26’ truck, actually stacked from floor to ceiling, would not hack it.
U-Haul tells us that truck is sufficient for families with 3-5 bedroom homes. If such families averaged three feet tall or less, with proportionately sized furniture and little of it, perhaps, but our three-bedroom manor overwhelmed the mighty truck, so we had to seek out a 12-foot trailer as well.
Here I should point out that everyone associated with U-Haul was first rate, which is rare in any business these days. One calls the national number, and they speedily arrange a truck and/or trailer at the closest U-Haul dealer. Checking out a vehicle is easy. They send a link to your phone, which has links to take photos of the front and back of your driver’s license. You’ve already reserved your vehicles with a credit card, so they take your money, hand you a printed contract with the address of the dealer at the other end of the trip, and you’re on your merry way. This worked out particularly well as I had to find a trailer on Memorial Day. It was seamlessly hooked to the truck within an hour of my call.
The truck, a Ford, was pretty new—only about 12,000 miles on the odometer. It was also pretty clean, but otherwise Spartan, which one expects, though it had AC, FM/AM, but non-electric windows. Fully loaded and pulling a trailer, it was pretty slow and one could actually see the gas gauge—60 gallons—moving. Unloaded, it was much faster, and the ride, much harsher. Either way, over 1200 miles, it kicked my posterior.
Mrs. Manor’s sister flew down to help. She was invaluable as always; it’s good to have personable, generous, and loving in-laws. She rode/drove the Manormobile, a 4WD F-150 packed to the roof, with just enough space for the kitty monster’s carrier, and therein lies the tail of the tale.
During my younger days, I thought nothing of driving 24 hours straight, and often had occasion. Now, taking advantage of every senior citizen discount—cashiers always seem to know that; how can they tell?—I drive like an insomniac with a bit of trepidation. Ultimately, we didn’t want to do a motel with the kitty monster—her name is Mushin, which is Japanese for “empty mind”—so we toughed it out and drove for about 23 hours. She’s 16 and a bit grouchy. We stopped every two-three hours for fuel that Tuesday, May 26, and of course, to walk around a bit and grab some fast food, which somehow, doesn’t taste quite as good as it once did. Probably it was mostly annoyance at the idiotic politicians that still have restaurants closed.
One learns many things on the road. I wonder whether men also pee all over toilet seats at home. Surely not if they’re married. If they do, that won’t be a lengthy state. Is it mere laziness? Some unfortunate neurologic condition? A particularly odious brand of perversity? In any case, the death penalty seems too generous.
As we left Texas, and less than 1000 feet of elevation, we began to noticeably climb. Fortunately, we left the rain behind—mostly—and when we reached Kansas, it seemed we were constantly climbing hills. Actually, we were constantly ascending, arriving at our destination in the high desert at well over 4000 feet. I also learned as one climbs and finds drier climate, you’re always thirsty, and can’t quite drink enough. I don’t normally do caffeine—it disagrees with my heart—but this trip, I made the Coca Cola Company proud.
Nebraska—oh dear, does it take a long time to drive East-West in that state—was different this time through. All along I-80, flooding was apparent. Many fields were underwater, highway ditches were nearly overflowing in spots, streams and rivers had obviously and recently flooded, but were sort of receding, and I’m sure you can imagine where I’m going with this: bugs. By the time we made our 2-3 hour fuel stops, we nearly needed explosives to dislodge the splattered bugs from our windshields. Our little convoy, the truck, trailer and pickup with two recumbent trikes on a rack attached to the trailer hitch, rolled quickly along, but the U-Haul provided no bug windbreak, so I helped with the removal chores.
Reaching Wyoming would normally be cause for rejoicing, for the 80 MPH speed limit if nothing else, but not this time. I stuck to 75 max, not wanting to push things. The stark scenery of the high desert, prairie and bluffs and everything that goes with it was familiar and welcome. Compared to North Texas, which I will always love, it really is the wide-open spaces, and Big Sky Country only a little less than Montana.
We finally made it into town about 0300 on Wednesday the 27th and sacked out at Sister-In-Law’s homestead. We closed on the morning of the 28th and hastily unpacked. Unpacking goes faster than packing, and fortunately, nothing of consequence was broken, due in part to my work in packing, and partly just dumb luck.
I had, however, gentle readers, forgotten how difficult it is to set up a new home. We’ve only moved a few times in our 43-year marriage, and had less stuff back then. But as I write this, at least some of the new Manor is semi-organized, though I have closet work to do in the master bedroom suite, and many, many bookshelves to build. Fortunately, we’re retired and have all the time in the world. Well, not quite, but you get the idiom.
I’ll get back into daily articles soon enough, but Monday morning, I have at least two runs to the landfill in my future. Then I’m tearing our the generic shelving in the aforementioned closet, patching holes, sanding, texturing, painting, and putting in more and much more efficient shelving. I already did that for the laundry room. Mrs. Manor got a new washer and dryer and likes them. Coincidently, they arrived on her birthday. She was showered with presents this year.
It’s hard work, but building things is always fun, and I have so many projects to do for the foreseeable future. And now, gentle readers, time to trundle off to bed. I’ve always wondered: what, exactly, does trundling look like, and should children be allowed to watch?
See you again soon, and thanks for hanging in there during my absence.